AAEP Business Coverage: The Growing Role of Social Media in Veterinary Practice  

At the 2023 AAEP Convention, David Hall presented on the role of social media in your equine veterinary practice.
Equine vet taking a post for their veterinary practice's social media page on an iPhone.
Don’t worry about production value for your social media posts; simple phone videos are fine. | Getty Images

David Hall presented on the importance of social media in equine veterinary practice at the 2023 AAEP Convention. Hall is the founder of two digital marketing agencies and the author of eight books on search engine optimization (SEO). One of those digital marketing agencies is Genius Vets, a platform that specializes in helping veterinary practices build strong brands and cultures, while utilizing effective and easy-to-use veterinary marketing systems. He is also the CEO of SEO Effect, a digital agency that specializes in search engine optimization. Hall drew on this strong background to deliver a comprehensive presentation on using social media in your veterinary practice. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Veterinary Practices

Although social media is essential, some foundational things need to be in place first, Hall said. Your website must be modern and optimized for search engines. “SEO is the most important piece of your website presence,” he stated. In simple terms, SEO refers to using keywords on your website that increase its visibility on Google and other search engines. The closer to the top of a search engine results page (SERP) your website ranks, the more visibility it will have, increasing the chances of your target audience finding and interacting with your content. Ultimately, the goal of search engine optimization is to attract those horse owners to your website who are most likely to become clients and share your business with others. 

Hall emphasized that many horse owners get their information by searching online rather than consulting veterinary professionals. When someone lacks foundational knowledge, the initial information they receive usually becomes the baseline of their beliefs, he said. While they can be re-educated, they will still hold on to that initial misinformation. Because clients do not have a lot of time each year with the veterinarian, they have a limited period in which to receive information. This makes your website and online presence very important.  

Especially for medical topics, search engines have increasingly created algorithms that are weighted to preferentially use information sources that have proven experience, qualifications, trustworthiness, and education. Therefore, consider including bios for the veterinarians in your practice. Include their educational degrees, association memberships, areas of specialized training, and years of experience. Then, when these veterinarians share information, it will rise to the top of the SERP when a user queries about horse health. Google also gives preference to local service providers. “Introduce your staff, and put them front and center,” Hall suggested. In addition, use images of your staff members rather than stock photos, because “authenticity is everything!” 

Building Trust With Clients Online

“Veterinary practices must deliver information first and services second,” Hall continued. Marketing based on authority and knowledge has become the norm as consumers seek credible sources of information, he added. You can build trust in your practice’s expertise by using your website as a source of information for both internal and external stakeholders. When supplying answers to frequently asked horse owner questions on your website, keywords are important, because people search with keywords on Google, and you want these keywords to direct them to your website. 

“Your website should be an engaging, positive foundation of all communication,” he stated. Vets can build that trust with videos that answer clients’ questions. Hall suggested practices identify a topic and talk about all aspects of the topic, answering all the questions that might arise, in a video format. Create a transcript from this video and use it to build out pages on your website for these informational topics. Once you have prepared these video pieces, you can share the information on social media.  

You can leverage your social media relationship with your clients to build trust. “There is good to be done on social media, but it is limited unless you are advancing your business principles,” Hall said. You cannot repeat your mission statement often enough, he continued. Because the mission statement describes your practice’s purpose, you should make it front and center in your communications.  

Social Media Platforms and Content for Equine Veterinary Practices

Receiving and reacting to information is human, and social media provides the opportunity to connect with your audience frequently. Your posts across different social media platforms should be consistent in subject matter but differ slightly in tone and visual aspects. “Most important is Instagram for equine veterinary practices,” Hall stated. He suggested posting stories, videos, and pictures on Instagram, Instagram Reels, and TikTok. “The shortform video is the most entertaining thing ever,” he said. YouTube is a great place to demonstrate your expertise through educational videos.  

“Don’t worry about production values. A simple phone video is fine. The authenticity actually increases engagement,” he added. Posting videos to all social media channels and embedding videos on your website will create a strong presence.    

Hall said you should always respond to comments; otherwise, the social media platform will decrease your reach. This requires monitoring your social media closely so you can respond to your followers quickly. He recommended social media content such as educational pieces, images, videos, blogs, memes, GIFs, testimonials, quotes, livestreams, podcasts, promotions, or Ask Me Anything posts.   

Final Thoughts

In closing, Hall reminded the audience that content must touch all the points on a client’s horse-owning journey, including awareness, education, engagement, services, retention, and advocacy.  

Disclaimer from sponsor: This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual business, financial, legal, tax and/or other advisors with respect to any information presented. Synchrony and any of its affiliates, including CareCredit (collectively, “Synchrony”), make no representations or warranties regarding this content and accept no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. All statements and opinions in this article are the sole opinions of the author and roundtable participants. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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